February 2016 Ratings: MSNBC Sees Most Total Day Growth in Cable News

By Chris Ariens 

MSNBC began the month with its first–and so far only–2016 primary debate, and it ends the month with the most viewership growth in cable news. While still trailing its cable competitors, MSNBC was up +70 percent in viewers and up +65 in the A25-54 demo, for total day viewing. That’s the second month in a row of showing the most growth.

The ratings for February, 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 968,000 total viewers / 244,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 526,000 total viewers / 134,000 A25-54

The growth comes as MSNBC repositions itself as a news network, and returned to branding itself as The Place for Politics. Monday-Friday dayside programming, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., was up +166 percent over February 2015, Morning Joe had its best month since October 2013, and its biggest win over CNN’s New Day in a year. Morning Joe has been beating New Day in viewers for 12 months straight. MSNBC’s Monday-Friday prime time slate had its best performance since December 2012 with The Rachel Maddow Show up +91 percent in viewers.


Here’s more is MSNBC release:

NEW YORK – March 1, 2016 – Since revamping its dayside schedule to focus on breaking news, MSNBC has seen a significant uptick in the ratings. For the month of February 2016, the network posted record-setting growth in this key daypart and “Morning Joe” had its biggest win over CNN since 2014.

Despite the dayside shift still being in its early days, the Place for Politics showed tremendous year over year growth compared to Fox News and CNN. For Monday-Friday dayside programming (9a-5p), MSNBC was up 166% over February 2015, while CNN was down 2% and Fox News was up 10%. With total viewers, MSNBC also posted higher growth than the competition over last year. MSNBC was up 95%, compared to CNN at 12% and Fox News at 7%. Through February 2016, MSNBC dayside has seen an increase in A25-54 ratings for nine consecutive months and for three consecutive months in total viewers. February 2016 was the highest rated month for MSNBC Monday-Friday dayside programming since October 2013.

For the month, “Morning Joe” easily beat CNN and had its best month overall since October 2013. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” posted the biggest win over CNN since February 2014 (155,000 vs. 125,000). The program was up 96% in A25-54 and up 87% in total viewers compared to CNN. “New Day” on CNN was down 5% in A25-54 and up 10% in total viewers. “Morning Joe” has topped CNN in total viewers for 12 consecutive months (613,000 vs. 427,000) and the program has seen four consecutive months of ratings growth among A2554.

“These numbers reinforce that Morning Joe continues to be the most influential morning news show on television,” said Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC. “Joe and Mika’s hard work and political instincts have driven the show’s success. They kick off each day of this election cycle with a smart, fresh take. Candidates know they’ll be asked substantive questions and the show has real impact. Viewers know Joe and Mika hold candidates accountable and push them beyond their talking points.”

MSNBC had its best primetime (Monday-Friday 8-11p) performance since December 2012. The network grew 125% in A25-54 and 72% in total viewers. “The Rachel Maddow Show” topped CNN for the month in A25-54 and total viewers during non-debate nights. In A25-54, the program grew 91% and topped CNN (273,000 vs. 235,000). In total viewers the show grew 42% and beat CNN (1,145,000 vs. 790,000).
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” was #2 for the month in total viewers and grew 32%. The program beat CNN (925,000 vs. 813,000). “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” beat CNN (936,000 vs. 696,000) and was #2 in total viewers.